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The Rockies and right-handed reliever Daniel Bard have avoided arbitration with a $2.925MM agreement for 2021, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Bard had been projected to earn anywhere from $1.2MM to $2.2MM in arbitration.

This is a nice payday for the 35-year-old Bard and one few would have expected he’d end up receiving when he signed a minor league contract with the Rox in February. At the time, Bard was coming off a long layoff from Major League Baseball, owing to struggles with injuries and performance. Bard began his career with a flourish in Boston from 2009-11, during which he looked as if he would be a long-term answer at the back of its bullpen. However, Bard severely tailed off after that three-year run, and he was out of the league within a couple of years.

Although he hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2013, Bard earned a spot on the Rockies’ roster and proceeded to enjoy a career renaissance last season. Across 24 2/3 innings, Bard recorded a 3.65 ERA/3.64 FIP with 9.85 K/9, 3.65 BB/9 and a 48.5 percent groundball rate, even recovering the 97 mph fastball velocity that abandoned him during his final two seasons with Boston. Thanks to his perseverance and solid production, Bard earned National League Comeback Player of the Year honors.

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